Just a few more sleeps until 2015 ends, so I say it’s high time we looked back upon this tremendous year. First up, Vând Sunete‘s Label of the Year.
As you’d imagine, each year it gets harder and harder to pick just one name for this category. It’s not merely because of the sheer number of imprints out there, but rather because of the strict quality control that goes on, resulting in some fantastic releases. Names like Pulsar Recordings, JOOF Recordings, Research & Development Records should be familiar sounding to the folks reading this blog, while also acting as strong contenders for the title. I would genuinely put all of them up there, but that would cause crowding, plus health and safety issues and all that.
I’ve managed to avoid mentioning the name for a couple of sentences, but the title pretty much gives it away (should work more on the reveal next year). For 2015, Label of the Year goes to the folks over at Lost Language. Before I present you the why, let’s see the who, for those not quite as familiar with the imprint.
Origin story and development
Started over the summer of 2000, Lost Language was the trance off-shoot of the Hooj Choons family of labels, featuring the likes of Gareth Emery, Markus Schulz and James Holden when they were still relatively unknown. Joining them as part of the artist roster, names like Solarstone and Tilt gave a note of contrast, aiding in the careful balancing act of old and new talent, and cementing the imprint’s reputation in the eyes of a growing fan base.
3 years into LL’s lifetime, Hooj Choons folded due to financial difficulties, which meant the Ben Lost-led label had to separate from its parent, thus becoming independent. Two years after that, Ben Lost left the A&R seat to an in-house team, which focused mostly on releasing albums. Among those who released LPs in this period were Tilt, Santiago Nino and Space Manoeuvres. Oh, and since we’ve started discussing LPs, it would be a shame not to mention Lost Language‘s very own Exhibition mix series (portrayed below). If you’re interested in what’s in them, I won’t spoil the surprise. Here’s some links for you to satisfy your curiosity: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4 and Volume 5.
After an extended absence, Ben returned to the director’s chair of Lost Language in the winter of 2012, signaling a new chapter in the label’s development. To make things even better, last year we got the fifth installment of Exhibition, and a visual refresh on the artwork front. Starting with Relaunch‘s One Love, the covers drew inspiration from Ernst Haeckel’s ‘Art Forms of Nature’, in which the German biologist highlighted the symmetry and intricate geometry of the natural world.
Why the choice
Writing for Vând Sunete is in many ways much more than a hobby, acting as a written record of my personal discovery of music I like, this preference changing constantly, as I’m sure everyone else’s is. Though trance has only been a part of my life for a little over half a decade, my curiosity has pushed me towards discovering much more than just the post 2010 productions. Over time, I started going back and listening to what the 90s and early 2000s had to offer, and was hooked. Part of it may be nostalgia (since I grew up with some of those tracks, like ATB‘s 9 PM or Christopher Lawrence‘s Rush Hour), but a good chunk of it is also a genuine curiosity when it comes to how the genre took shape and has evolved.
My taste has indeed shifted, leaning more towards the progressive side of things and incorporating even more genres. It’s as obvious as can be in the releases I choose to feature and the labels I keep coming back to. On the more underground side of trance and progressive, Lost Language has definitely been a source of great enjoyment for me this year, with a host of terrific EPs. Have a look for yourself:
Andy Ling – Fixation (2015 Remixes) – VS review
Release Date: 26.01.2015
Includes: Relaunch, Chris Oblivion & Astro D mixes.
3 Access & You Ft. Ovnimoon – Violeta / The Energy
Release Date: 09.03.2015
Includes: Original mixes, The Energy (Hazem Beltagui Remix)
Hazem Beltaui presents Dark Sahara – The Weaver Of Black Noise
Release Date: 30.03.2015
Includes: Original, CBM mixes.
Miro – Paradise (2015 Remixes) – VS review
Release Date: 22.06.2015
Includes: Casey Rasch Wax Mix, Casey Rasch Wane Mix, Deepfunk, Mindwave mixes.
Darkskye – The Monastery
Release Date: 17.07.2015
Includes: Original, Johnny Aemkel, Simon Templar mixes.
Space Manoeuvres – Stage One (Lashes Remix) – Remixes Part 1
Release Date: 07.08.2015
Includes: Lisa Lashes mix.
Release Date: 14.08.2015
Includes: Stu Mort, Paul Pearson mixes.
Ovnimoon with 3 Access & You – We Are One – VS review
Release Date: 13.11.2015
Includes: Original, Jamie Baggotts mixes.
Simon Templar – Oblivion (Part 1 & 2) – VS review
Release Date: 18.12. 2015
Includes: Original mixes.
Like in its infancy, LL has ping-ponged between the old and the new, updating beloved classics and making future ones in the process. What’s that you say? You want a playlist? I’m more than happy to oblige:
It’s been 15 years since the world was introduced to Lost Language, but despite the changing times, the core of the imprint has very much been kept intact. I wholeheartedly put forth my token of appreciation for everything they’ve done and stand for. Here’s to another 15 years!
Check back tomorrow for the nomination of Album of the Year.🙂